Jared in Spain

Torro Torro!  Passa da burrito…

Well, Madrid was eh. Sorry anyone out there who loved it…I don´t know, it just looked to me like so many other places in Europe that I have been to…but that´s been happening a lot to me lately. What can I say? Maybe it´s just overkill. But Madrid didn´t feel “Spanish” enough to me. Not what I expected. Pretty cosmopolitan…lots of restaurants and sex shops…and movie theaters.

I have been looking everywhere for some good chicken and rice, but all they have here is Paella…which is a mixture of seafood, and all kinds of other nameless meats, and rice. Since I don´t really dig seafood, I have been at a loss for good food. One place I went to, I asked “Esta Paello solo con pollo?” “Do you have paella with only chicken?” And he said “Si!”  And I sat down. He brought me a plate of rice and two chicken bones. As I picked through it, I saw remnants of shrimp and pieces of seafood. Clearly he had gone through his big pot of paella and thought he picked out the stuff I didn’t like. I was pissed.

Then, my hotel was a joke. Promptly at 9:00am, they began construction inside my hallway. Pounding and hammering all morning. I kept screaming out the window “STOP!!!” (with a few colorful exclamatory words), but no go. That was the final straw for me to leave Madrid. I went and checked out, haggled with the hotel guy who wanted to charge me more than we agreed on…but ended up paying what I wanted to pay. I headed for the train station, had a few hours to kill before the next train to Toledo. No, not Ohio. Toledo is a medieval town about an hour and a half outside Madrid.

One thing I have to complain about (I mean ANOTHER thing…) is that I simply cannot get away from cigarette smoke over here. EVERYONE SMOKES! I can’t believe it. No matter where I go, I find it hard to escape. And they do not have the laws we have about smoking in public places, so basically it’s free reign everywhere. Even on the train, which was supposed to be a non-smoking car, people lit up anyway. And the streets are littered with cigarette butts. Sorry smokers, but I don’t understand your addiction. It’s bad for everyone involved. You, because you smoke and I can’t begin to list the health hazards. Me, because I have to breath the second hand smoke. Everyone, because our world is littered with cigarette butts. Oy.

Anyway, I made it to Toledo, which is actually very impressive. It´s a medieval city inside its original walls. The streets are narrow and very old looking. Everywhere you turn there are medieval buildings, cathedrals, and churches. This is what I was looking for. It feels very Spanish to me. Everything is made from stone, so the whole city looks like a city of stone. There are a few synagogues left standing from before the Jews were kicked out of Spain in 1492, so I paid them a visit. Being of Spanish-Jewish decent, I found those particularly interesting. Also, I ate some good chicken.

Hasta manyana.